Scott Burrows

Scott Burrows, Motivational Safety Speaker

A Safety Mindset is Not Optional


In my virtual and live safety speeches, I often remind audiences that safety protocols are sometimes viewed as an option when workers are tired, stressed or in a hurry. In order to remain steadfast during times of unexpected change or mental and physical overwhelm, training teams to remain in a safety mindset at all times is crucial.

In 2020, despite the “lockdown,” preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that about 3 workers in 100 suffered serious workplace injuries. This was unchanged from 2019. It was the first time in 15 years the statistics did not go down!

About 1 in every 100 workers had to take time off from work due to injuries, and about 7 in 100 workers were transferred or fired from jobs due to dangerous safety violations – from alcohol abuse to refusal to use safety harnesses.

Last year, about $60 billion in claims were paid out due to incidents such as lifting heavy objects that were too heavy, slips on wet floors, falling objects, bad ladders and truck crashes. Virtually every one of the safety violations could have been avoided. And in most workplace accidents, “safety” was treated as an option.

Mindset isn’t Optional

When I was involved in a traumatic car accident that transformed my life from an able-bodied athlete and martial artist into a quadriplegic, it was because I failed to have a safety mindset. As I lay in a hospital bed recovering from my injuries, I had no choice but to overcome my challenges by developing an entirely new philosophy of life focused on the concepts of Vision, Mindset, and Grit. As a motivational safety speaker, this philosophy is what I teach teams to help them understand how significantly a poor split-second decision can affect all aspects of their lives.

The “Vision” I refer to, is a statement of safety that must be embraced by everyone in the organization from the CEO to the apprentice. The vision is more than a printed statement slapped on the chain-link fence of a construction site but embraced and reinforced through proper training, encouragement and teammate accountability.

“Mindset” is much more than a temporary thought shared at a company meeting or safety video. A safety mindset is a statement of life and commitment. For surely, in 2020 there were workplace accidents that took lives.

I like to think of mindset as an attitude where everyone in the organization agrees to draw a line in the sand, where we all agree to no more accidents, no more injuries and where everyone looks out for everyone else to ensure they adhere to safety protocols.

When organization embraces a safety mindset, great things happen.

But how does an organization maintain vision and mindset? The bond that holds it all together is “Grit.” Grit is the day-to-day resolve to have a safe workplace. It is neither magic nor a secret code that is unavailable except to the “higher-ups.” Grit is everyone watching each other’s backs, pointing out dangerous conditions, fixing what is broken and resolving that each day must be better than the day before.

At the end of the day, Vision, Mindset and Grit is a safety proposition that ensures everyone goes home to their families safe and sound. Safety should never be optional.



To hire Scott Burrows, Motivational Safety Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169


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